Should Arsenal have pushed harder to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk?

The early stages of the January transfer window were predominately dominated by the Mykhaylo Mudryk saga. There were many twists and turns as the Ukrainian winger tried to force through a transfer to the Premier League, with Arsenal initially looking like the frontrunners for his signature. However, Chelsea hijacked the deal to secure the highly-rated forward, choosing west over north London in an £88m deal.

The Gunners were on the search for more attacking reinforcements in their title push but they were unable to secure their man. But should Mikel Arteta have pushed harder to force the transfer through?

Mudryk has been one of the best players in the Ukrainian Premier League in recent times. His creativity and pace are just two things that have caught the eye of Europe’s elite and there is no reason to see why that wasn’t the case. In 12 league outings at The Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, the forward recorded seven goals and six assists – a very impressive output for a youngster breaking onto the scene.

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He additionally impressed in the UEFA Champions League as Mudryk recorded three goals and two assists in six games, showing he could compete on European football’s biggest stage. There are yet more impressive stats about the 21-year-old. At the time of writing, according to FBref, Mudryk completes just under two dribbles per 90 which ranked him as one of the best attacking players in the Ukrainian top flight.

He has scored 0.49 goals per 90 which is an excellent number for a player who only scored his first senior goal for Shakhtar Donetsk in October of 2021. Also, Mudryk has assisted 0.33 goals per 90 as well as 3.91 progressive passes received per 90. It was very clear to see why many of the top European clubs were keen to sign one of Europe’s emerging stars, with Brentford even trying to secure his services at the end of the last transfer window.

As the January transfer window approached, it was evident that Mudryk was going to be a wanted man by a number of Premier League clubs. Arsenal made the first move with a bid of around £57 million which was rejected and a second bid also fell short of Shakhtar’s £85m valuation. Mudryk also stated his desire to come to the Emirates Stadium by posting multiple Instagram stories showing that he wanted to join the Premier League table-toppers.

This is where Chelsea stepped in. They met with Shakhtar to discuss a possible transfer, and following some discussions, Chelsea signed their man for £88 million. The west-London based side then acted fast and he was unveiled to the Chelsea faithful at half-time in their game against Crystal Palace becoming yet another exciting, attacking player.

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This deal emphasises Chelsea’s scatter-gun transfer approach, which has been a recurring theme since Todd Boehly bought the club a few months ago. It appeared that Arsenal were going to add Mudryk to their attacking ranks but Chelsea intervened by reportedly offering him double the weekly salary he would have earned with the Gunners.

However, only several days after missing out on Mudryk, Arsenal signed Brighton & Hove Albion’s versatile attacker Leandro Trossard for £27 million. This deal probably wouldn’t have happened if the Gunners managed to sign Mudryk but only time will tell if he will be a success at Stamford Bridge. It will also take time for him to settle into life in the Premier League, with England’s top division certainly being a more competitive league than the Ukrainian Premier League.

Mudryk could turn out to be a potential world-beater but on the other hand, many of Chelsea’s attacking signings in the last few years have not panned out as hoped. He had a promising debut against Liverpool where he added Chelsea another dimension in the 0-0 draw. The price tag though will hang heavy if he is not to succeed in blue, but he has made a great first impression. But do you think Mudryk will succeed at Chelsea?

The Author

Jack Patmore

Billericay Town Media Assistant | Work for The Non-League Paper, VAVEL, Phoenix FM & others | Part of The Football Writers Association | BBC Young Reporter Winner 2023

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